Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

I was late for the Hoka Carbon X3 party, but I didn’t need this shoe. Sometimes it gets expensive to purchase so many shoes. Plus, I just don’t run enough to use them up that quickly. So finally, I needed a workout shoe and decided the Hoka Carbon X3 would be it.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

Hoka Carbon X3 Quick Stats:

Weight: 8.5 oz

Heel to toe Drop: 5 mm

Cost: $180

Hoka Carbon X3 Introduction:

If you are looking for a “cheaper” carbon-plated shoe, the Hoka Carbon X3 is one to consider. At this point, a $180 carbon-plated shoe from a major brand is shocking. However, the 361 Flame is also that price. Truthfully, the Hoka Carbon X has never been the “fastest” carbon-plated shoe. But it is a good option if you need a broader base and are running far (I’m talking further than a marathon). The Hoka Carbon X3 has been significantly updated! It feels like it’s an update I’ve been hoping for the last couple of versions.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

What has been changed in the Hoka Carbon X3?

  • The Upper has been changed from a mesh upper to a knit upper.
  • The midsole is made from ProFly X, a supercritical foam, and the first time we have seen this foam used in a Hoka shoe.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

Hoka Carbon X3 Fit:

Ok, Hoka, why? Why did you use the knit upper? I honestly think the previous versions of the traditional upper fit and feel better. I hope this is a transformative year for the Hoka Carbon X 3, and we will see a bigger and better update with the upper in the Carbon X4.

The knit upper makes for a weird fit, but the one upside is that it can fit even wider feet now. So that is actually positive. Besides that, it just feels funny on foot (Thankfully, it’s not as odd as the Mizuno Neo Wind).

The knit upper makes it hard to get a great lockdown, so if you are narrow or average feet, you might find your feet are swimming in the Hoka Carbon X 3.

I firmly believe the best running shoe uppers disappear off your feet, and the Hoka Carbon X3 does that for me because I have a wide foot. If you have an average or narrow foot, you feel like it’s hard to get a good fit.

In running shoes, I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, and I found the size 10.5in the Hoka Carbon X 3 to fit the best…which is my usual size for Hoka.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

Hoka Carbon X3 Ride:

I was excited when I heard the Hoka Carbon X3 was getting the ProFly X supercritical foam; I thought it would transform how the shoe felt and fast under my feet! I could not wait. But sadly, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s not as bouncy as you would expect, and really if no one told me the foam changed, I would not have noticed.

Like previous versions, the Hoka Carbon X 3 midsole uses 80% ProFly X on the top, with the bottom layer 20% rubberized EVA. While the Hoka Carbon X 3 isn’t soft, it is cushioned. (Really, is any carbon-plated shoe that soft?).

Stability: While the Hoka Carbon X3 isn’t stable, it is probably the most durable carbon-plated shoe. This comes from a broader base, so if you need a wider racing shoe or a more stable platform, the Hoka Carbon X3 will be one of your best bets.

Durability and Traction: This shoe lacks both. There is no blown rubber on the bottom, so you are typically lucky if you get more than 100-200 miles out of it. I like the ride and understand the lack of blown rubber (weight), but I still wish it had it. It has rubberized EVA, which gives it some grip but is not the same. It’s not a shoe I would take out in inclement weather or on sandy trails, but it’s excellent on perfect weather days on smooth roads.

I wasn’t sure where the Hoka Carbon X3 would fit into my rotation. Would it be a racing shoe? Fast-paced shoe? As in previous versions, I prefer it as a long-run/workout shoe. I prefer something like the Saucony Type A9 for faster and shorter reps, but for long runs, I like the extra cushion.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

Hoka Carbon X3 Conclusion:

I see the Hoka Carbon X 3 as having so much potential. I hope we are waiting for a big update from the Hoka Carbon X3 to the Carbon X4. Honestly, the shoe is fine, especially considering how far Hoka has come with its carbon-plated shoes, but there is much room for improvement. If you are looking for an ultramarathon carbon-plated shoe or something wider with more stability, the Hoka Carbon X3 is. Great option. Plus, these days, you can’t beat the price.

Hoka Carbon X3 Shoe Review

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: New Balance 1080v12, Diadora Mythos Blushield VoloSaucony Triumph 19, Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra

Speed Work: Hoka Carbon X3, Hoka Solimar, Altra Vanish Carbon, 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, Reebok Float Ride Run fast Pro, Nike ZoomX Streakfly, Reebok Floatride Energy X

Long Runs: Saucony Freedom 4, Hoka Clifton Edge,  

Trail Running/Hiking: Brooks Caldera 6, Saucony Peregrine 12Hoka Torrent 2, Hoka Zinal Shoe, Speedland SL: PDX

Races: Nike ZoomX Streakfly, Asics Metaspeed Sky, Hoka One One Rocket X, adidas Adizero Pro, New Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin Pro 2Reebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Are you looking to learn more about running shoes? My ebook talks about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths about running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Hoka Carbon X3?

What is your favorite carbon-plated shoe? 

1 Comment

  1. I bought a pair of Hoka Carbon X 3, took them out for one run, and then returned them because I felt that they were too stiff. I have worn the X 2 and used them in races and really liked them, but I didn’t like the X 3. Currently my favorite carbon-plate shoe is the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2.

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